SHEFFIELD Steelers moved up to third in the Elite League standings with a comfortable 6-3 win over Yorkshire rivals Hull Stingrays.
Despite their third straight victory, though, the Steelers were unable to close the gap on leaders Belfast Giants, who enjoyed a 4-3 win over Nottingham Panthers to maintain their 15-point lead over the South Yorkshire outfit.
Doug Christiansen’s team got off to the best possible start and found themselves 2-0 ahead inside four minutes.
Stefan Meyer, overtime hero in the 3-2 win at Nottingham on Saturday, opened the home side’s account when he fired past Ben Bowns at 1.39 on the powerplay with Hull’s Carl Lauzon in the penalty box on a cross checking call.
Steelers’ captain Steven Goertzen doubled the lead with his eighth of the season at 3.18, but an interference penalty for Chad Langlais let Hull back in at 15.39 with Nikolai Ladygin halving the deficit on the powerplay.
Steelers restored their two-goal advantage just 32 seconds later through Jonathan Phillips.
The game was past the halfway mark before the next goal, Jeff Legue making it 4-1 at 32.31, then Robert Dowd added a fifth just over a minute later.
Meyer’s second of the night, early in the third period, ended any slim hopes of a Hull comeback, the visitors registering goals through Jason Silverthorn and Jereme Tendler to make the scoreline more respectable, something not lost on Stingrays’ player-coach Sylvain Cloutier.
“That is the worst we have played in the last two months,” said Cloutier.
“I know we are playing short but that wasn’t the real Hull Stingrays out there – we started to cheat and we got away from the game-plan.
“We didn’t take care of our ‘D’ zone and when you don’t do that these teams will punish you. We are a lot better than that.”
Steelers will look to extend their winning streak on the road this weekend at Braehead and Cardiff.
Hull travel to Coventry Blaze tomorrow before hosting Gardiner Conference rivals Fife Flyers.
Watch highlights of Steelers’ 6-3 win over Hull Stingrays by clicking the window at the top of this page.